It's been a little crazy here in Montreal in the past few months. Personally, the feeling of craziness started in March with the Anti Police Brutality march, which culminated a few blocks away from my apartment. Next was the start of the tuition hike protests, which celebrated the 100th day of protesting on Tuesday. On my walk to work, it became really common to see smashed bank windows, extra traffic, spontaneous groups of people shouting, and busses of policemen zooming by with the sirens on. Since I work at three English universities, it was all people talked (mostly debated) about. It has been interesting to get one perspective at work, and completely another from my family and friends, and a third perspective from the media. No matter my thoughts on the tuition issue, it's obvious to me that it is growing into a bigger issue: should we accept the norm, or fight for what we believe in? The older people I've talked to seem to say "suck it up, stop whining." and the younger or more open-minded (is that the word I'm looking for?) people seem to say "it doesn't have to be like this, but it will be like this if no one speaks out."
I haven't been too involved personally with the tuition hike activities, but I've found it really inspiring to see people speaking out for what they believe is right. A few weeks ago, the federal budget got passed, with scary implications. The government is budgeting $8 million on auditing charities like environmental groups. It will completely change the Environmental Assessment Act, so that projects like the Enbridge pipeline could get passed much more easily. There will be less emphasis on public consultations, so that politicians can pass things or issue permits behind closed doors. For a better explanation, see here: http://blackoutspeakout.ca/about.php
In a time when we need MORE transparency, MORE public consultations, BETTER regulations, LESS power of lobby groups, this is ridiculous. The government is getting more power to pass projects that certain companies (cough cough, oil) want, and gives less opportunities for environmental groups or the public to speak out about it. So people are speaking out. And blacking out.
On June 4th, organizations and bloggers will be blacking out their website, to represent the silence that the budget will entail. So I'll be blacking out, and speaking out.
I'm an eco-conscious girl from Montreal, Quebec. I'm currently an adjunct science professor at Champlain College of Vermont (Montreal Campus). I'm interested in any opportunities to expand my experience with grassroots activism, climate change legislation, or environmental education.